Here are the top ten programs for the two-week period running Sunday, September 25th through Saturday, October 8th, 1955. The first table lists the top ten by households and the second by rating.
The 1955 World Series, which ran for seven games between Wednesday, September 28th and Monday, October 3rd, was the first to be broadcast nationally in color. With the exception of the Sunday, October 2nd game, which began at 1:45PM, all of the games started at 12:45PM.
I’m not sure why there is an entry for the weekday World Series games as a whole rather than individually like the Saturday and Sunday games. Considering that all of the games were played during the afternoon and not in prime time I don’t know why they’re on the list at all unless in 1955 Nielsen did not limit its ratings to primetime programming.
|Number of TV Homes Reached|
|4.||Ed Sullivan Show||CBS||15,571,000|
|5.||I Love Lucy||CBS||14,260,000|
|7.||Milton Berle Show||NBC||13,017,000|
|9.||George Gobel Show||NBC||12,832,000|
|Percent of TV Homes Reached|
|3.||Ed Sullivan Show||CBS||48.6|
|5.||I Love Lucy||CBS||46.3|
|7.||Milton Berle Show||NBC||40.5|
|9.||George Gobel Show||NBC||39.8|
Copyright 1955 by A. C. Nielsen Co.
Note: Prior to July 1960, Nielsen ratings were not based on the total number of television households in the United States. From 1950 to 1953, ratings were a percentage of households in cities/markets in which the program was broadcast. From 1953 to 1960, ratings were a percentage of households capable of viewing a program.
“Latest Ratings: Nielsen.” Broadcasting*Telecasting. 7 Nov. 1955: Page 42.